Accelerated Bachelors-to-Masters degree program

The Science in a Changing World graduate program focuses on science in the context of social change and of individual intellectual development, preparing students for diverse science-related career paths—from laboratories to field research, journalism to policy formulation, teaching to activism. Most students in the SICW program are mid-career, but younger students have made good use of their studies to develop and clarify their professional aspirations (such as a recent UMass Amherst graduate pursuing a SICW/CCT degree to deepen her critical thinking skills before continuing on to training in medicine)—see How graduates build on their SICW studies. The same experience of professional development and self definition is the goal for BA/BS-MA students.

The accelerated BA/BS-MA program follows the established model of starting graduate courses as a 2nd semester junior, approval of a regular application for graduate program admission, completion of all undergraduate requirements in fewer credits (107 instead of 120), and a 5th year of graduate courses only. Applications welcome from all undergraduate majors in Honors and College of Liberal Arts.

The Masters courses for SICW consist of 4 core courses, 4 electives, and 3 final research and engagement courses that culminate in a capstone synthesis project and a Practitioner’s Portfolio, which helps focus your career trajectory and enhance your employability. Courses can be completed entirely through face-to-face sections, entirely from a distance, or in a combination.

Formally, SICW is a track in the CCT graduate program. Some CCT/SICW courses are cross-listed through CLA, CSM, MGS, or the Honors College, but many are offered as regular credit-earning courses through the College of Advancing and Professional Studies (CAPS). While this may result in an extra charge over and above tuition and fees paid for a full-time undergraduate load, the lower charges in year 5 for CCT/SICW courses through CAPS almost offset that extra charge for in-state students and more than offset it for non-resident students. The cost for the BA/BS-MA Program over and above the cost for the BA or BS would be around $15500 at 2017 tuition and fee rates for in-state students.

Current & Upcoming CCT & SICW Courses

All in combined online & face2face classes, except where noted. "aol" = asynchronous online only. "M4" means Mondays at 4pm etc.
Spring 2019
602 Creative Thinking (W7)
615 Holistic and Transformative Teaching (Th4)
645 Biology in Society: Critical Thinking (W4) (=Bio545)
653 Epidemiological Thinking and Population Health (Tu4) (=PPol/Nrsng753)
688 Reflective Practice (M7)
693 Action Research for Professional, Educational, and Personal Change (Th7)
694 Synthesis of Theory and Practice (Tu7, M4)
Summer 2019
612, Seminar in Creativity (theme: Creative Realization)
618, Creative Thinking, Collaboration, and Organizational Change
619, Biomedical ethics
Fall 2019
601, Critical Thinking (M 7)
616, Dialogue Processes (aol)
630, Criticism and Creativity in Literature and the Arts (Th 7)
650, Mathematical Thinking (Tu 4)
651, Cognitive Psychology Th 4)
688 Reflective Practice (M 4)
692, Processes of Research & Engagement (Tu 7)


The application requirements for joining the graduate program include the following: application fee; a completed graduate application form; an official transcript indicating a GPA of 3.2 or above across all undergraduate courses; three letters of recommendation; an essay stating personal objectives and career aspirations; and one or more examples of written work from a course. GRE scores are not required for this accelerated bachelors-to-masters degree program, but the admissions committee sometimes requests an interview. The SICW MA program is interdisciplinary and so accepts applicants with bachelor’s degrees from a variety of departments and disciplinary backgrounds. Application deadline for spring or fall admission is, respectively, November 1 or June 1 of the student’s junior year. Honors College students have the option to apply in their sophomore year. For admissions advice, email SICW coordinator, or arrange an appointment.

Once admitted to the accelerated program, before you are officially moved from undergraduate to graduate student status, you are required to have completed all UMass Boston undergraduate degree requirements within the 107 undergraduate credits, including Major Requirements, First Year and Intermediate Seminars, the Honors College curriculum (for those in the Honors College), Quantitative Reasoning, Distribution Requirements, Diversity Requirements, and Writing Requirements. Once the Registrar has confirmed that the student has completed all necessary undergraduate requirements, the Registrar opens a graduate record for the 5-year student and the student’s status changes to become officially matriculated as a CCT MA student in the SICW track at UMASS Boston.

Course sequence

The following table provides a probable sequence of courses taken for the MA part of the Program, where C = required core course, E = elective, and R = final research and engagement courses, including the capstone seminar and the numbers refer to the courses listed below. Electives could also be taken during the summers.
Junior, spring
Senior, fall
Senior, spring
5th year, fall
5th year, spring
C (649 or 652)
C (640/645 or 650)
C (649 or 652)
C (640/645 or 650)


R (692)
R (693), R (694)

Required courses (21 credits; with 12 credits of electives)
All CCT courses are offered as regular credit-earning courses through CAPS, with cross-listed sections in other colleges of courses marked [s] when they are taught by faculty with regular tenure-track appointments.
Core, Science in a Changing World track
Either CRCRTH 640 Environment, Science & Society: Critical Thinking [s]
Or CRCRTH 645L Biology in Society: Critical Thinking [s]
CRCRTH 649L Scientific & Political Change [s]
CRCRTH 650 Mathematical Thinking [s]
CRCRTH 652L Conceptual Change and Learning (formerly: Children & Science)
Research and Engagement courses
CRCRTH 692 Research & Engagement Process [s]
CRCRTH 693 Action Research for Change [s]
CRCRTH 694 Synthesis of Theory & Practice [s]

Course descriptions, syllabi, evaluations

More information

Official Science in a Changing World program website
Full prospectus for the SICW BA/BS-MA program
Allied BA/BS-MA program in Critical & Creative Thinking

Last update 5 October 2018